Gower, The Journeyman Scrivener

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12/12/2019 4:08 PM

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Notorious Marauder Exemplar of Avon



"He was slightly less unfun."




"Somehow there was comfort in coffee despite his misery; the only comfort in a black world." -- Hornblower in the West Indies

Trophies Earned

Earning 100 Points Earning 500 Points Earning 1,000 Points Earning 2,000 Points Having 3 Storygame(s) Featured Rated 98.6% of all Stories Given by mizal on 10/11/2019 - For your exceptional games and articles, many forum contributions, and disturbing sweetness and light. (Sorry about McAllen, it wasn’t our idea either.) Given by Will11 on 10/12/2019 - For your excellent stories and many worthwhile contributions to the site :)


Featured Story Kelly Unicornstrider and Friends (1982-1985) Super Quiz

A comprehensive quiz + bonus fan faction about the the underrated cult classic show "Kelly Unicornstrider and Friends" (1982-1985). Questions range from really easy to really difficult.

Featured Story Private Game for Natalie

I think putting this on "publish" makes it so only we can see this. It's just for us, sweetie. I made it to celebrate our anniversary and remember some special intimate moments together over the years in an interesting way as a present for you.

I hope you love it, Natalie, as much as I love you!

(Of course if there's any admin looking at this, or if I messed up, don't read this, because it's got private things in it.)

Featured Story Sabbatical Report Presentation

This is my required report to the full faculty in accordance with the rules noted in the Faculty Handbook (version 15.1, as of October 2017)

Sixteen Words

"Personally I can only read 16 words in one go before words stop working," wrote Mizal.


This game has sixteen words per path.  Not counting "The End."  So you can play quickly.


When reviewing, please use precisely sixteen words.   That should be plenty for your suggestions and observations.


Note this challenge connected with this game:  Write the Last Page!

Articles Written

Basic Sentence Structure: Additive Sentences
Comma Use and Additive Sentences with lots of examples

Cumulative Sentences, Part 1
An introduction to the sophisticated and elegant cumulative sentence style.

Dialogue Punctuation
This is a brief discussion of how to punctuate dialogue in US and UK English. It also notes a few rules for quotation mark use in general.

Relative Sentences
A lecture on how to write relative sentences using restrictive and non-restrictive clauses.

Semicolons and Advanced Additive Sentences
This article explains how to use semicolons to create new types of additive sentences. It includes the plain semicolon and semicolons with transition words.

Recent Posts

Gower's Office Hours on 12/12/2019 1:49:01 PM

> Who gets bothered by 12 items or less signs

Those among the initiated.  If it doesn't bother you on a word level, be pleased and go on with your pleasant life.  You have been spared having to seethe in the grocery line.

Noob Census - Earn pointless points! on 12/12/2019 7:49:55 AM

Lol, "brother or sister."

Tally Ho, Epilogue on 12/12/2019 7:31:09 AM



False mustache firmly in place, you approach the study of Admiral Nigel Pinnacle, holding a silver tray bearing a seltzer bottle, a highball half filled with ice, and a bottle of fine blended scotch.

Admiral Pinnacle will be retiring from military service this year, and aims to publish his tell-all memoirs, recounting his life and times in high society, including his wayward younger years. Needless to say, the Inner Circle cannot allow him to expose the checkered past of Lady Gertrude Graymalkin, the admiral's onetime lady friend, thus setting off a cascade of linked scandals that would surely devastate England's better sort for decades to come. In short, page fifty-seven of Admiral Pinnacle's handwritten memoirs, about to be sent to his secretary for typing up, must be stolen and replaced with the nearly identical—but stripped of incendiary details—page fifty-seven that you have in the false bottom of the scotch bottle.

You enter the study, just as the admiral rings for a drink.

"Your scotch, sir," you say.

He whips around, perplexed, but gratified. "Thank you, Grimsby. Your mustache is in fine fettle today. As you know, I let nobody but you into my private study. So I am pleased that you have finally learned how to be quick and efficient when I have need of a drink."

What did you do with the real Grimsby?

1. He is dozing in the butler's pantry, courtesy of a drugged bread-and-butter sandwich, which you ensured made it onto his plate at tea.

2. He received a forged note from Admiral Pinnacle telling him that he is needed at the sweet shop the next town over.

3. I have locked him in the wine cellar.

Tally Ho, Epilogue on 12/12/2019 7:29:11 AM

In the days and weeks that follow, you receive some intriguing letters.

Dear Pennyworth,

Hello. I am here at Ritornello and I wanted to write to you to tell you I am all right. After everything that happened at the Harvest Festival, I was thinking that you might think I would be desolate. I did cry for a long time until I felt like a sponge that had all of the moisture squoze out of it.

I sit in my room a good deal and write to Figs. Everyone tells me to be patient, so I am being patient. I read a poem once about a woman in a tower who waited ever so long until she floated in a river and her knight love said "tirra lirra" over her sad dead self. But I still think my own poems are better.

So I am here, until something else happens. I think you should come visit me, Pennyworth. Things are more fun when you are about, and I won't make your life much too difficult this time. Please do come.

Tirra lirra, 

You put down the letter from Mopsie and then pick up another letter, this one from the Mayor of Woodland Centre.

Dear Pennyworth,

It has come to my attention, as I have been going through my briefings, that you are a fugitive from justice. I see that someone has bribed someone else or something of the sort, and I did not realize that you are still wanted.  You are supposed to be in jail here in Woodland Centre, if I am reading this report correctly. Therefore, I ask that you cease being a fugitive at your earliest convenience, or I shall have to issue forth an official Writ of Warning on my mayoral letterhead, and I shall at that time be rather stern. I am a tough but fair mayor, as I think you will agree.

If you continue to refuse to return to jail after a grace period of, let us say, six to eight weeks, I shall be forced to withhold your commemorative plaque for your victory in the annual boat race. This is no idle threat.

Yours truly, 
The Mayor of Woodland Centre

Tally Ho, Chapter Eight on 12/12/2019 7:23:01 AM

The final section--the Epilogue--will conclude our story.

Tally Ho, Chapter Eight on 12/12/2019 7:22:24 AM

I am going to write to Regina and tell her that I accept her invitation to join the Inner Circle.

Yes. The Inner Circle is the place where your talents can best be used for good. You are looking forward to informing Regina.

The countryside rolls past, as you make merry, laugh a good deal, and argue about the day. There are fireworks planned for the evening, after the mayor's speech and the costume party, but no fireworks could possibly hope to compete with the dazzlingly fiery orange, yellow, plum purple and red gold of the trees of Woodland Centre.

Rory leans towards you. "Not a bad little trip, as such things go, eh, Pennyworth? That is to say, we've had more relaxing trips. And there were an awful lot of hard parts. But on the whole, rather decent.  Rather...a shame that you shan't be working for Frankincense and me, though.  I suggested it, more than once, but she felt that wanted to have a hand in setting up our new household.  'Start fresh,' I believe, was the term she used."

"Indeed, sir."

Rory sighs.  "You've been rather a good valet.  Better, probably, than I deserve.  It makes one think. About life, and good and ill and the strange nature of fate, and how a story can be all wrapped about with both happy things and sad things. Rather deep, don't you think?"

Rory looks at you, and shakes his head in recognition of the manifold wonders of the universe.

"As you say, sir. As you say."

Tally Ho, Chapter Eight on 12/11/2019 8:50:26 PM

"Why don't you act instead of crying about it?"

"Like…like what?"

"That is for you to determine. Who is in charge of your life? You, or your aunt?"

"I am."

"Well, then. Go off and be married."

"It's no use, Pennyworth. I am not strong like you. I don't know what to do. I'll just…I'll just lie down and melt."

You speak to Mopsie for a while, trying to explain to her that she can do something to change her life. You hope she understands.

By the end of your talk, she wipes her eyes and nods. "All right," she says. "I don't know. But I feel better."

"Do you want to make up with your aunt?"

"I'll…try," Mopsie says, clearly thinking about a million things behind her weepy eyes.

People start to walk away from the river, drifting in pairs and small groups to the village center for the grand luncheon, dancing, a pie tasting, and then, later on as evening falls, fireworks.

A horse-drawn cart filled with bales of hay pulls up and stops near Aunt Primrose.

"Gather round, everyone. I have ordered a special treat for us," says Aunt Primrose. "This is an American-style harvest celebration. It is called a hayride."

Rory and Frankincense stand next to each other, holding hands, talking lightly about the boat race. They look happy.

Mopsie lingers near Rory, lost in thought. Figs has drifted off over the past several minutes. It seems that he will not be going on the hayride.

"Everyone who's coming, let's go!" shouts Aunt Primrose.

Aunt Primrose and the others pause in arranging themselves on the haystacks of the cart to enjoy a performance of the Strolling Glee and Handbell Performers, who pause by the hay cart to perform a rollicking performance of "Alexander's Ragtime Band."

As you are about to step onto the hay cart behind Rory and Frankincense, Regina taps your shoulder.

"Savage Wendigo." Regina leans over to you,holding out her clipboard for you to see. It makes almost no sense to you, a morass of circled numbers and graphs. But you can see one word on top, written in green ink and underlined twice: "ACCEPTED."

"I would like to invite you to the Inner Circle," she says. "You have demonstrated resilience in difficult situations, and showed that you will be an asset to us in ensuring the safety and happiness of those we work for. There is danger lurking everywhere, but our great nation will be that much safer with you a part of our organization. Let me explain what happens next. If you accept this exalted position, we will place you in a service position where you can do the most good. You will serve whomever we place you with, but you will be kept busy performing death-defying missions for us—and for the good of the world. It is a dangerous job, but we are confident that you will be an asset.  We had to pull some strings and pay some goodly bribes to get you out of legal trouble.  That is because we believe you will be valuable to us.  When you are in trouble, we will come for you.  But don't do it too often.  It annoys me."

Regina puts her clipboard under her arm.

"If I may speak on a more personal level, Savage Wendigo, I would like to tell you that you helped me over the past few days when I was shorthanded. You did the work of an actual agent. Thank you. You are not required to tell me whether you accept right now. Indeed, it is not allowed. You should think about it, and decide if you wish to be inducted into the Inner Circle."

"Thank you. I shall ponder carefully."

"Please do."

She turns to get onto the hay cart, but then turns back, as Aunt Primrose hollers for you both to get on already.

"One last thing. Someone asked me to tell you a snippet of additional news. I am not supposed to tell you this until you accept. But if you choose to accept, your partner has already been assigned to you. Again, it is not official until the paperwork goes through Central, but it was a special request. Your new partner's code name will be 'Pixie.' That is all I can say right now." Regina looks at you seriously and then boards the hay cart.

Carlington and Scrubs heave the huge prize basket of delicious fancy foods onto the cart, where it takes up almost two seats, making the cart sag a bit. "I can't wait for the luncheon!" says Aunt Primrose. "And we have all of this bounty here. Let's eat, right here in the cart!"

As she passes around dainties from the basket, she sees Col. Firesnuff watching from the street. "Get up on here, Firesnuff," she growls. "There's a massive apricot marzipan pie that I need your help to eat."

"You want me to share with you?" he says.

"Yes, I do. You have irritated me a good deal. You are insufferable. But you are part of this family, and you are not going to walk when I have a hay cart and a basket of food. Sit next to me and don't tell me any of your stories."

Col. Firesnuff climbs on the hay cart with great speed, accepting a sandwich and a deviled egg from Aunt Primrose. He starts to say something about himself, and then stops. "Thank you, Primrose," he says. "Thank you all." Then, astonishingly, he says nothing else for five whole minutes in a row.

A few moments later finds you on the hay cart, bumping along the road to the village green.

Aunt Primrose makes a witty comment and slaps her own knee in appreciation of her own joke. She tosses several truffles in her mouth and exclaims, with a full mouth, "Now that's fine chocolate!"

Col. Firesnuff taps on one his sideburns thoughtfully, preparing a lengthy rejoinder to something political that Frankincense has said. He takes a long quaff of red wine, and examines the label with an critical eye.

Mopsie sits a bit apart, subdued, talking lightly of this and that, but without her usual spirit. She does her best to respond when Aunt Primrose tells her to sit up straight, but she is clearly longing for her Figs. She looks up at the trees and sighs and waits.

You close your eyes for a moment. Somehow, this particular adventure feels different from the dozens and dozens of other adventures you have had with Rory. The affair at the ski lodge, for example, or the month you spent with his other, more dastardly relation, Aunt Thistle, on an excruciating holiday in Penzance. You wonder what comes next for you.

As you rest your eyes, you see your future, unfolding before you.

1. I am going to write to Regina and tell her that I accept her invitation to join the Inner Circle.

cannot choose --> Perhaps Aunt Primrose can use her connections to help me find a position for an employer of some distinction. Perhaps one with a title.

cannot choose -->I am going to serve Rory and Frankincense as they start their new life together.

cannot choose -->I'm going to work with Frankincense in politics.

cannot choose -->I'm going to become a notorious criminal.

cannot choose -->The notion of acting is enticing to me.

2. I'm not quite certain what I want to do. I'm going to have to think about it.


Gower's Office Hours on 12/11/2019 8:43:07 PM

They actually do mean different things, but it's subtle.

Farther:  physical distance  (I can throw a ball farther than you.)

Further:  other kinds of distance  (Do you have anything further to add?)


This only bothers people who are bothered by supermarket signs that say "12 Items Or Less," but for the people it bothers, it really bothers them.


Zeppo Marx:  Is there anything further, father?

Groucho Marx:  Anything further, father?  That can't be right. Isn't it “anything father, further”?

Gower's Office Hours on 12/11/2019 8:39:19 PM

Yes, the rule is that whenever you are talking about a word as a word it is put in quotation marks.

Remember also that in US English you make quotation marks within quotation marks single quotation marks, so:

"It's not "Sir Mare," my Lord, it's "Sir Myre."
"Oh, no, it isn't "Lord" Myre, it's just "Sir" Myre."

would be

"It's not 'Sir Mare,' my Lord, "it's 'Sir Myre.'"

"Oh, no, it isn't 'Lord' Myre, it's just 'Sir' Myre."


Gower's Office Hours on 12/11/2019 8:37:16 PM

"Afterword" is a bit of text after the main text in a book.

"Afterward" (and "afterwards") means "after that thing."

They have two totally different meanings.